King Of Pain

by theappliedprocess

“There’s a little black spot on the sun today. It’s the same old thing as yesterday. There’s a black cat caught in a high tree top. There’s a flag-pole rag and the wind won’t stop.”

We were back in our bed and it felt great to wake up in it. Without wasting much time, we reverted to familiar habits and had our almost daily session of morning sexy time. A joint shower followed, and then work. I only stopped for a second at the office before returning to British Airways to finish our project there. After the 20 minutes of hard work, they threw a party for the inauguration of their new headquarters, and I was privileged enough to be invited.

I was feeling a bit anxious and still tired from the trip so I opted to take advantage of the free wine and numb myself normal. It didn’t work.

I tried distracting myself by befriending the sassy American-Italian receptionist I’d met on previous occasions, but that didn’t do much either.

I drank more and more till it was time to leave. Crippled, I took the train back to work where I was to meet ‘Nickle’ so we could walk the Williamsburg bridge back home and, although we’d planned a quite night just the two of us, we invited ‘Fixie’ to join us for dinner last minute.

After enjoying a cornucopia of grilled root vegetables, a couple of beers, and a few shots of whiskey, we went to the much missed Abbey to continue drinking and continue settling in to our mode de vie. Bad idea. I was still exhausted from the trip and that, plus the alcohol, plus my usual insanity ended up colliding into one massive clusterfuck of anxiety. I blew up. I am not exactly sure when, how, or why but it wasn’t pretty.

The bits and pieces I remember do not paint a pretty picture. I was uncontrollably emotional and somehow I managed to tell both ‘Fixie’ and ‘Nickle’ to leave me to my own self. Luckily, they were smart enough to fight me back and keep me in check. I, apparently, was also telling my babe not to leave because he was having a moment too and was about to step out. Like I said, I’m not really sure what went on but eventually I passed out with minimal damage done.

Wednesday I tried to pick up the pieces. ‘Nickle’ woke me up just as he was about to leave for work. Like I mentioned, I’m sure I was extremely exhausted because normally I wake up with him. He kissed me and said everything was alright. I walked to the kitchen table to find a note that read “Don’t let me fuck this up, please! I love you.” Are you kidding me!? I’m really not sure what happened, but what I am certain is that I should be the one writing such things. I laid in bed hoping I didn’t have to go to work because I was a complete emotional mess. Still exhausted. Still hung over. Still exposed.

I got up and talked to ‘Fixie’ who gave me his own version of the night. It was also spotty, but comforting in a weird way. I was not looking forward to work because I don’t like my job anymore. There! I said it. It does not bring me the joy and distraction from the rest of my life than it used to. Now I go to work because I have to. Because of my integrity. Because I care. Other than that, there really isn’t anything appealing. I practically work for free. I no longer want to be associated with the image the new boss has brought. I slowly and surely feel like I care less and less because other than me and a coworker, nobody seems to do so! Alright! Enough venting… back to the story.

I did end up taking a shower, freaking out, sucking it up, and going to work. Refer to the title. The bf and I made plans to have dinner together and have an early night. That thought lasted for a second. The lovely ‘Jose Maria’, ‘Viquers’, and ‘Fixie’ asked to meet for drinks, and ‘Nickle’ suggested going to Solas before venturing off to the ramen spot where we ate the second date we ever had. I, of course, obliged. I used to get mad about stuff like this, but I’ve come to realize that I shouldn’t. Although I often wish we could just go home, I can’t deny that I love to drink and go out. Maybe that’s the whole problem, it annoys me that I can’t say no although I really think I should sometime… but then again we go back to the thinking. I think too often. I think too much. I’m thinking. Right now. As I’m typing. More on that later…

And so we did. We ended up at Solas where, despite having agreed that maybe we should stop on the shots, we backtracked to “we’ll only take shots when offered, and not ask for them ourselves”. Who am I kidding? We are our own worst influence.

We left after a couple of beers and a couple of shots. To be honest, I did not feel anywhere near drunk. We nixed the noodle bar and somehow we ended in the middle of a shut-down 12th street at Motorino’s. Obama was dinning a few blocks west. We talked about the previous night and he reassured me I had his full support. It was all going well. I fell in love again. Deeper. Harder.

After the presidential caravan sped down the street just as we were ready to leave, we were allowed to step out into the sidewalk. We took the train back to Brooklyn and off into The Abbey we went. More unnecessary drinks and after taking a wrong turn somewhere between sanity and typical me, I lost it again. There was a little intervention performed. To my luck, everybody loves me and was trying to calm me down and be there with ‘Nickle’ who I feel like sometimes gets scared and does not know what to do with me. I’m not sure how much longer we stayed out.

Thursday morning we woke up to find all of our clothes strategically scattered around my room and spilling into the living room. We both could not remember what happened. And just like the weather, after the storm came the calm. We were being extremely affectionate with each other to the point where we fooled around, passed out, fooled around again, took a shower, and ‘Nickle’ ended up being late to work. He suggested we meet for lunch, but since we had already had our share of eating ass and sucking on dick, we figured we were pleasantly satiated for the afternoon. Instead, I skyped with ‘Jose Maria’ who gave me his always insightful two cents to the evening: we need to stop this cycle because it’s not going to be pretty later. I agreed.

I went to work with the same attitude and excitement I’d been having the past few days except this time I was a bit distracted daydreaming about the fact that I was going to see my old shrink for the first time in 21 months right after work! Right at 7pm I flew out the door and into the uptown 6 to go to 43rd and 2nd for a much needed paid 90 minutes of venting.

I should probably not disclose the exact details of my now reinstated weekly visits, but I will say this: the first time was eye opening. I was anxious and unstable the whole hour and a half and, although I felt somewhat comforted, I also felt more scared. I suppose it’s normal to feel that way since I was about to start tackling some skeletons that, just like I did, need to come out of the closet.

I left the shrink raw. First thing I did? I updated my Facebook status to state just that. I called ‘Jose Maria’ who instructed me to do anything but meet ‘Nickle’ since I was probably too emotional to do so. Instead, he suggested I come to Balthazar to meet him and the Greeks for ‘Tiny Narcissus’s’ going away dinner. I followed instructions.

The whole time I kept debating whether I wanted to drink or not and what time it would seem fitting to leave without making it seem like all I wanted to do was run into my baby’s arms and fall asleep on his chest. I drank. We ate. I calmed down for a second and before I knew it, we were paying for the bill and on our way out. The Greeks were going to The Standard and, although that sounded somewhat appealing since I hadn’t been there in months, I opted to join ‘Jose Maria’ for a couple of drinks at 10 Degrees so I could give him my two cents on the bartender who he currently fancies.

We took a cab to the bar and I continued to try and make sense of the plethora of emotions I was feeling. Nothing was coming out as expected. I wasn’t making much sense. I continued drinking and blabbering and going back and forth between thoughts. Useless. I made plans with ‘Nickle’ to meet at 11:45pm. It was 12:15am and I was still at the bar. I took a cab back to my place where I was supposed to meet the boyfriend, but I texted him right after getting off the bridge to find out that he was still at the bar where he’d been. I was a bit disappointed because that’s what I do. Sometimes I expect people to read my mind, and in my  mind I expected him to be home or at least on his way there. I let it go and just decided to meet him for a couple of more drinks. We cabbed it back home at a semi-decent hour and went to bed.

Upon waking up that Friday morning, ‘Nickle’ brought up a much obvious point: shots get us too crazy and we should probably refrain from taking them every single time we go out. He attributed his moment of Eureka to a talk he had with an old friend the previous night. Whatever it was, I was happy that one of us was actually thinking. No, I’ve never been a shot enthusiast, but I also don’t mind them, and I too practice other unwise behaviors I should probably reevaluate.

We were being lazy and really hung over so we didn’t shower. We’d been getting a lot into the intoxicating natural sent of our pits and, with that being established, we decided to skip the morning primping and instead add insult to injury by biking to work. Also, the bike ride would mean that later that night we’d have to bike back, and thus not get as wasted as we usually do. Yeah right…

I spent my day at work nursing my ill liver. I wanted to have a somewhat chill night so I emailed my boyfriend about a movie that had just opened and that I really wanted to see. The email went to Bulk Mail and right before I was about to leave, I texted him to ask why I never heard back. He mentioned he never saw the email and that he’d already made plans with friends to which I was, of course, invited. Drinks ensued at Solas.

Upon arriving, his friends noted that I was a bit off. They were right. I was. I’d been. On occasion, I still am. I blamed tiredness and the remnants of our exhausting Midwest road trip. They bought my story which bought me enough time to drink myself sane.

We were all hungry so we walked over to a ramen spot for some noodles. After food, some of the wiser crowd went home, the other went to a club, we were going to pick up our bikes and ride home but instead ended up back at Solas. We stayed for a couple of drinks till I received a text from the Greeks begging us to come to The Chelsea Hotel for ‘Tiny Narcissus’s’ last night out. With our best interest clearly in mind, we decided to oblige.

After the drunken bike ride to Chelsea, we finally arrived to our destination. We went in and danced and drank for a bit. I was a tad concerned of ‘Nickle’ and the Greeks getting along. They’re from two separate worlds in many different ways. I, being somewhere in the middle, can go one way or the other, but asking either of the other ends to trek to the opposite side is a bit more challenging. Regardless, he did better than I expected and, after losing himself in a few good tunes (I knew he’d like the music), we left to bike home. Big mistake.

Less than a block into my bike ride I stupidly ran into a parked SUV and hurt my leg. The numbing ethanol flowing through my veins provided just the right amount of anesthesia to allow me to get back on the bike and ride to the L train to somehow get home crippled but safe.The whole trip, ‘Nickle’ insisted on helping me out but I stubbornly kept trying to prove myself I could do it on my own so I wouldn’t let him. I ended up paying the price the morning after.

Saturday morning was my second of three intensive visits to the shrink. I woke up early and took a cab to her office as my man stayed home to run some much needed errands. The session was more intense than before. She commenced our talk with an apology for having, according to her, fallen for my showmanship and having spent a year worth of therapy dealing with issues which she claimed I used to mask the true underlying source of my anxiety. I’d go into the specific details regarding my homosexuality, money, codependency, and emotional withdrawal, but basically, it all boils down to daddy and mommy issues.

I left her office even more raw than before and even more terrified. The first thing I did was I called ‘Nickle’ to ask him if he was sure he wanted in because, if I was going to do this, I was probably going to have to do this with him by my side and, although it’s my own battle and I’m good at doing things on my own, sometimes I do need the support. He said he would and I firmly believe his words.

I left therapy and headed for work with an open wound. The day was not easy. What else is new?

That night, we made plans to go to the movies and then have dinner with ‘Martha’ and ‘Mrs. O’. After our first option was sold out, we ended up at The Angelika watching Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene which left a very sour taste in both our mouths and made me feel both hopeless (that I’ll never get better) and hopeful (that I’m not as fucked up as the main character). After the movie, we ventured to the awfully camp Hell’s Kitchen. We had a sip of wine at ‘Martha’s’ and then some food at a restaurant around the corner somewhere on 9th and the 40’s. Dinner was pleasant. From there we went to a dive bar a few blocks north to have a nightcap before heading back to Brooklyn. We took two shots and downed two beers. I received a text from a friend who used to live in the city but now lives in LA to inform me she was in town for the night and invite me to my other friend’s apartment for a drink since it was on the way home. We left Hell’s Kitchen and hailed a cab. Apparently, I had a moment in the cab. I do not remember the ride quite well. I do remember, however, stopping by my friend’s. I’m not sure how long we stayed but I assume it wasn’t long. We took another cab home and next thing I know (or… don’t know, actually) I was passed out and wasted.

I woke up on Sunday morning earlier than I wanted to because I wanted to make breakfast for us. I finished the remainder of the soyrizo ‘Ceviche Mama’ had mailed us from LA and made another scramble. I nixed the shower and ran out the door to my third and last shrink appointment. This time around, I felt more reassured than the previous two, and actually left feeling hopeful instead of devastatingly hopeless. I’d like to say that I think this is a good thing, but “worst case scenario” me irrationally thought already that it’s just that I was on a high, rather than a low, and that eventually it’ll all go back to the shitty usual. C’est la vie. The funniest thing about this is how I can totally recognize my behavior patterns, yet I feel completely powerless against them.

As planned, I walked over to the southeast corner of Central Park to meet ‘Nickle’ for a daytime date at the Guggenheim. On my way there, I spotted the holiday Lady Gaga workshop entrance at Barney’s and suggested to my babe that we check it out because, you know, that’s what the gays do. We spent about an hour and eighty-five dollars and then we got back on track. We decided to walk up by the park on 5th ave towards the museum because, you know, that’s what cute gay couples do on a Sunday afternoon. We got side tracked yet again, and instead of heading to the Gug, we ended at the Met. I became a member of my favorite museum in New York and we dilly dallied for a few hours till we decided to forget about the Maurizio Cattelan exhibit and just head to The Seahorse Tavern  for some early dinner before heading back to Brooklyn.

Dinner was splendid. We obviously had drinks but we limited the shots to just two. We were doing progress.

Our Sunday all day date continued with the obvious: a movie. We met up with ‘Fixie’, ‘Clive’, and ‘Gwen’ for a double (and a half) date to watch The Muppets. The movie was exactly what was needed to redeem the experience of watching the other utterly depressing movie the night before. It was light, it was witty, it was funny, it was right. My only complaint was that I was feeling a bit anxious and sometime towards the end a girl sitting right behind me had an epileptic seizure that scared the shit out of everyone inside the theatre. All I kept thinking as I stared in fear was that I was even more afraid of being in a similar situation and not knowing what to do. Yes, sometimes the anxiety is that much.

We left the theatre and walked over to a bar called The Boat where they were having x-mas craft night. We started drinking without any shots in mind and I frantically tried to keep myself busy to keep myself from giving in to the extraordinarily high levels of anxiety I was feeling. I was on the edge and neither the alcohol, nor the crafts were helping with my manic state. After a few drinks I managed to control it to the point where it was bearable. Because of my mania, I outcrafted everyone in the room and the bartender rewarded me with a shot. Just before leaving, two more followed.

We all disbanded and we walked back to the G train to head north to Williamsburg.

The train ride was a bit better. My babe noticed my state and commented on it. I told him that sometimes I just really want to control it all by myself so that’s why I chose not to ask for help. We went home, talked for a bit, I freaked out for a few, and then we crowned the amazing day with some much wanted butt sex just before going to bed. I didn’t use a condom.

That week is probably one of the most emotionally draining weeks I’ve had in a long time. I ripped some bandages, created new wounds, and reopened some old ones. It is the first time in a really long time that I’ve felt scared. Scared of myself, but not in a “teenage crazy” kind of way. I know my place in this world, and I’m not going anywhere. My only comment is that, just how I told my shrink, I never did plan for much of a future, and now that things are going great with work and the boyfriend, I’m just absolutely terrified of it. I don’t know how to act, and I fear I’m just going to make mistakes and lose everything. Mom and Dad issues.

I love my man, and the whole condom situation meant more than a careless act (like many people might think). I had promised myself I would never do that again after my ex, not because I was cheated on, but because I didn’t think I could ever develop that level of trust towards someone else. Am I worried about STD’s? Of course! I’m the king of hypochondria. Do I think he will give me something? Absolutely not! Unless he’s very secretly having random unprotected sex when he’s at work, I know he’s clean and he wouldn’t ever think to jeopardize us. How would I react if something happened? To be honest, I can live with an STD, you take a pill and you go on with your day. The real killer is the loss of trust. There are definitely no pills in the whole universe to recover that.

“I have stood here before inside the pouring rain with the world turning circles running ’round my brain, I guess I’m always hoping that you’ll end this reign, but it’s my destiny to be the king of pain.”